RetoolCOS project to update City’s zoning and subdivision regulations

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The City of Colorado Springs Planning Department has launched the RetoolCOS project to update the Chapter 7 Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance. We need the public’s input, as RetoolCOS will directly impact the built environment of both new and existing neighborhoods and development throughout the City.

RetoolCOS is a follow up to PlanCOS, the City’s recently updated Comprehensive PlanA comprehensive plan is a guiding document that provides a framework for city policies and priorities regarding the physical development of the city. It is a long-range vision of what we want our city to become and is a tool for making decisions about how that vision should be achieved. It outlines strategic steps to make the vision a reality and provides targeted and strategic planning of the physical development of the city..  PlanCOS helped us identify how our city’s needs and priorities have changed over the last 25 years when it comes to how land is used and developed within city limits.  RetoolCOS is the next step needed to give life to the established vision. 

What is the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance?

The Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance governs land use, growth, and development within neighborhoods. It establishes different categories of land use (known as zoning districts) and outlines what uses (residential, business, industrial, etc.) are allowed in each district. Each zone has a different set of rules for how the property in that area can be developed, such as:

  • Landscaping requirements
  • Building heights
  • Where structures can be built on a lot and how they can be used
  • How properties can be subdivided
  • How wide the streets need to be
  • The type of drainage and stormwater facilities are needed
  • Dimensional standards, which include lot sizes and setbacks (how much space is required between structures, from a lot line or the street)

All of these things combined impact the look, feel, and personality of a development.

What will RetoolCOS update or change?

RetoolCOS will focus on:

  • Reviewing regulations for residential and commercial zoning districts
  • Reviewing lot sizes for each zoning district
  • Rules and requirements for developing property within each zoning district
  • Transportation options including bus, bike, pedestrian, and personal vehicles
  • Modifying existing and creating new zoning districts that allow for new development trends (i.e. – smaller lot sizes)
  • Parking requirements
  • Landscape standards
  • Allowing more mixed-use developmentDevelopment that integrates two or more land uses, such as residential, commercial, and office, with a strong pedestrian orientation. to allow people to work, shop, and recreate closer to where they live
  • Making the city code more user-friendly with graphics and flow-charts for processes

Some things that RetoolCOS will NOT focus on:

  • Building and construction codes
  • Sign regulations
  • Parkland and school land dedication
  • Fees or studies related to the City’s fiscal impacts of development
  • Short-term rentals
  • Accessory dwelling units
  • Wireless communication facilities/small cell telecommunication facilities including 5G

Why do we need this update?

The Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance has not been updated since the 1990s. Our city has changed a lot in the last two decades, growing from approximately 283,000 people to nearly 500,000 people today.

The update will also make the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance easier to use by adding features like cross-references, illustrations, and consistent review procedures, which are common in city codes today.

As previously mentioned, it’s needed to move our community’s PlanCOS vision forward.

How you can get involved

The City is hosting an open house where you can learn more about RetoolCOS and start getting involved in the process. The open house will be at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (2880 International Circle, 2nd floor, Colorado Springs 80910) from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 18.

For more information about RetoolCOS visit

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